Preparing chocolate specialties of exquisite quality is Lake Champlain Chocolates’ passion. For nearly 40 years, this family enterprise based in North America has been making its products by relying on regional ingredients and a winning combination of creativity, craftsmanship, and efficiency. When it comes to chocolate bar packaging, the premium chocolate manufacturer puts its trust in the system solutions of Loesch Verpackungstechnik (LoeschPack) in Altendorf.
Short and sweet
- Twin-station fold wrapping machine
- LOMATIC with integrated belt buffer for feeding and distribution
- LTM-DUO for hermetically sealed packaging
- 200 chocolate bars packaged automatically per minute
- Easy operation, low personnel requirements, little effort
Chocolate creations from North America
Birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Valentine’s Day: the production of Lake Champlain Chocolates’ regionally renowned chocolates almost always plays a role in the celebration of special occasions and holidays throughout the year, when the elegant…
Birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Valentine’s Day: the production of Lake Champlain Chocolates’ regionally renowned chocolates almost always plays a role in the celebration of special occasions and holidays throughout the year, when the elegant creations in premium packaging are given as gifts. Other products such as chocolate bars are available all year round. The family-owned company’s 8,000-square-meter headquarters are located in Williston, Vermont, near the Canadian border and a lake that gives the company its name. The company facility is also not far from an idyllic landscape of forested hills and quaint towns and villages. As you pass through the large warehouse and into the production area, you can smell the delicious aromas of chocolate, maple syrup, and roasted nuts. The incredible scent of pralines wafts through the air: the finest chocolate creations and truffle chocolates, predominantly seasonal year-round products, roll off the production line here. Each of these products differs in their production as well as packaging, with some produced and packaged by machine in automated or semi-automated processes while others are created entirely by hand. That means that some product lines are quite elaborate and labor intensive, while others require a small number of manual operations. This applies to products such as LoeschPack’s chocolate bar packaging line, which can automatically pack up to 200 chocolate bars per minute. Just a 15-minute drive from the company building, tourist hotspot Burlington is home to two of the family-owned company’s three retail stores. Visitors to the stores and café not only get a taste for gourmet chocolates and sweet treats: they can also watch how selected products are made and learn, among other things, where the chocolate comes from. During the peak season, up to 140 employees work to produce, package, and sell Lake Champlain’s sweet creations. The tasty treats are also available far beyond the borders of the United States and can be purchased in both Canada and Australia.
LoeschPack delivers the perfect solution
Over the course of many years, Lake Champlain has made a name for itself with handcrafted chocolate bars, packaged products, and seasonal items, evolving along the way from a brand exclusively serving the northeastern market of the United States to a…
Over the course of many years, Lake Champlain has made a name for itself with handcrafted chocolate bars, packaged products, and seasonal items, evolving along the way from a brand exclusively serving the northeastern market of the United States to a nationally known favorite. In the course of further development of its products and equipment in the direction of greater automation, the chocolatier reorganized its packaging technology system for chocolate bars in 2018. With the aim of increasing bar production, Lake Champlain first upgraded its chocolate pouring line. However, to ensure smooth implementation, the company also needed a packaging system that could keep up with the new production. To meet this need, LoeschPack supplied an appropriate two-stage fold wrapping machine. The solution consists of the LOMATIC feeding and distribution system with integrated belt buffer and the LTM-DUO packaging machine. The system takes the bars from the upstream pouring line, properly arranges them, and feeds them to the downstream packaging machine. An additional belt buffer in the LOMATIC can buffer the products for a brief period of time and then return them to production. This compensates for fluctuations in production flow and increases the efficiency of the overall system. The LTM-DUO first packs and hermetically seals the chocolate bars and then wraps them in paper or cardboard. From the start of the project to commissioning took around nine months, during which the two companies worked intensively on the project. With success.
Sustainably producing and packaging chocolate
In addition to their shared success on this project, Lake Champlain and LoeschPack also share the philosophy that their businesses should operate on a sustainable basis. The system solution from Altendorf means the chocolate manufacturer can not only…
In addition to their shared success on this project, Lake Champlain and LoeschPack also share the philosophy that their businesses should operate on a sustainable basis. The system solution from Altendorf means the chocolate manufacturer can not only package its bars faster and to a higher quality, but also sustainably. Christoph Bächmann, Project Manager at LoeschPack, knows the benefits: “The LTM-DUO is easy to operate and requires minimal staff and service. It packs many different recipes – from milk chocolate to chocolate with whole nuts. With little effort: the customer can change the recipe and the format easily, quickly, and in a user-friendly way. At the same time, Lake Champlain remains flexible when choosing between the two packaging materials. The switch from aluminum foil to OPP foil at the first station is just as easy as the changeover from paper to cardboard in the step that follows. The LTM-DUO, which is easily accessible in all areas, is easy to clean once the chocolate bars leave the belt.” When considering matters beyond the partnership with LoeschPack, it is also obvious that Lake Champlain places a great deal of emphasis on premium packaging, products, and ingredients: “Over the past twelve years, we’ve put our focus more and more on natural and ‘green’ products as well as simple recipes. To make all of this a reality, we primarily use sustainably produced chocolate and other environmentally friendly raw materials while avoiding certain ingredients such as palm oil. When possible, we work with local farmers and suppliers to better achieve these objectives,” says Eric Lampman, President at Lake Champlain, providing the following as an example: “To make our caramel, we use fresh organic dairy products from the region. To create different flavors, we use local products such as maple syrup from Vermont and genuine Mad River Distillers bourbon. We also enhance some of our products with locally sourced honey and other exquisite flavors prepared in-house. For our gift packaging, we largely use paper and cardboard that is recycled completely within the region. All this is important to us as a family and as a maker of good food.” But when it comes to packaging technology, the Americans put their faith in machines “Made in Germany.”
Shared knowledge and direct communication
Good communication and the expertise of everyone involved also played a key role in the success of the project: The technicians from Altendorf successfully installed the machines with the assistance of the machine operators from the North American…
Good communication and the expertise of everyone involved also played a key role in the success of the project: The technicians from Altendorf successfully installed the machines with the assistance of the machine operators from the North American company: “LoeschPack did a great job coordinating the machine installation,” says John Weishaar, Manufacturing Manager at Lake Champlain, with satisfaction. Lampman also confirms this, stating: “During commissioning, the colleagues from LoeschPack correctly assessed the system and its potential in a professional manner – and we were also able to learn a lot from the skills demonstrated by the German experts: For example, how do the systems run, and what capabilities do the machines possess? It quickly became clear to us that the new system would also set a new benchmark and take us to the next level as a chocolate manufacturer. We are of course quite grateful to the experts from Germany for the valuable exchange of information and the successful project. The numbers speak for themselves. They are proof that the technology is good and that our investment has paid off.” The interaction with Loesch Support is just as rewarding. The system can be connected remotely so that the team in Germany can perform remote maintenance at the touch of a button. “If we need spare parts, we can quickly have them delivered,” Weishaar reports. Lake Champlain and LoeschPack both find a culture of respectful and straightforward communication to be important, Lampman reports: “We appreciated the open communication we experienced from the outset. If something wasn’t right, we talked about it and together examined what we could do to improve things, what we could do differently, and what new approaches we wanted to try out. We see authenticity as well as open and honest dealings with one another as important values that we live by as a family business.” Bachmann also appreciates this approach: “We cultivate a grounded partnership with our customers. The working atmosphere with our colleagues from Vermont is very congenial, and the employees are committed and seem proud to be associated with the chocolate manufacturer, for which many have worked for decades. It was a great project in which we, as a packaging equipment manufacturer with our core competence in chocolate packaging, were able to contribute to a medium-sized, up-and-coming company with products that are both exciting and delicious.” Bächmann looks to the future with a positive attitude: “We naturally hope that we can continue to support Lake Champlain with our packaging solutions far into the future and continue to grow together with them along the way.” With the bars and chocolates made in Williston, you don’t have to look far for sweet gift ideas that make for the perfect holiday.
"On the lookout for a supplier that could help us make the move from an open fold wrap to a sealed full wrap system, we learned that LoeschPack already had the right solution for making our idea a reality. The US market for chocolate bars, which had traditionally sold its products in the horizontal orientation, had changed over time. More and more retailers were now placing the chocolate bars into the box vertically. That meant less protection for our products, which were wrapped with foil at the ends. We took a look at a comparable LoeschPack machine available on the market and were thrilled."Eric Lampman President at Lake Champlain
"With the new pouring line and packaging system, we were able to triple our original throughput while also increasing the quality of our packaging. As an improvement over the old machine, for the past four years the new system solution has been making it possible for us to hermetically seal our chocolate bars on both ends, lengthening the product shelf life."John Weishaar Manufacturing Manager at Lake Champlain
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Efficient performance, innovative system solutions, and gentle product handling are our top priorities. That’s why we tailor our packaging lines to your needs. For the perfect interplay of all machines – and the best results. And to ensure that this remains the case, we are continuously evolving. Find out more about what we can do together – in the practical examples of our packaging systems.